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Feeding, Vaccination and Other Aspects of the Holistic Lifestyle

I started studying natural health about six years ago. I was living in Virginia, running a small rescue and spay/neuter program. There were always twenty or thirty animals living with me at any given time, so I had lots of chances to use what I was learning. I saw very quickly that using the holistic approach kept my gang very healthy, and I was hooked. I moved to Ohio about two years ago, and I guess my real claim to fame is that I found a man willing to marry me and my brood. Anyhow, my husband was already "attuned" to things like Reiki and Reflexology, so the things I was telling him about weren't completely foreign to him. Even so, I don't think he was prepared for the amazing things that we've been able to help the animals accomplish with holistic techniques. There were lots of times he thought we needed to take one of the guys in to the vet for one thing or another, and I'd say "Let's just try this first and see." Now, whenever somebody has anything wrong instead of going to the vet, he'll tell me we need to do Reiki or find a homeopathic remedy or herb or whatever instead.

With our crew, we don't have a choice, we have to be pretty proactive, but wouldn't everyone like to see their animal companions live several more happy, healthy years? Isn't anybody worried about the kinds of diseases that are cropping up in the animal population? Does it seem right that lots of seven year old dogs are toddling around like seniors? Rather than just accept everything from doggy breath to allergies to diseases and short life spans, we can make a choice to give our animals a chance to get - and stay - well. Naturally. Dr. Crock, Mary and I are all here today to give you the information you need to be able to make that choice.

My Wake-Up Call
A bowl of kibble was literally the beginning of my crash course in natural health. I realized I had no idea what was in the bowl I was putting down in front of my kids day after day, so I decided to find out. And that's where it all started… Now, it seems appropriate that whenever I'm asked a question about a health or behavior related issue, I always begin my answer with diet. It truly is the cornerstone of our companion animals' health.

What We Can't Control In Their Lives
The Quality of the Air They Breathe
Past (things that happened to them before they came into our lives)

What We Can Control
Food they eat
Water they
Types and amounts of vaccinations they are given
Toxins they are exposed to
Type of healing they receive

These things can have a huge impact on our animals' wellness.

Before I go too far with these concepts, it's important to me to say this:
Being Truly Holistic Implies Consideration and Compassion for All Beings
As animal professionals, we have a special responsibility to all animals - not just those we see in our homes and offices, but especially those who are not so fortunate.

A Very Simple Way to Help Them: Language
I consider myself an Animal Rights Advocate - this doesn't mean I believe animals should be able to vote, or even hold public office, necessarily, but it does mean that I believe animals are entitled to their own, appropriate set of rights, including the right to treated humanely as beings with feelings and abilities that in many ways surpass our own. The idea is to use the subtle power of language to help elevate the status of animals to beyond that of mere property.

This is a trend that is gaining some momentum. [In July of 2001, Boulder, CO became the first city to pass a measure to replace the word "owner" with the term "guardian" in their municipal ordinances. As of March 4, 2002, Menomonee Falls, WI, West Hollywood and Berkeley, CA, Sherwood, AR, and the State of Rhode Island joined Boulder by adopting similar legislation. ] For me, it makes no sense to talk about using holistic methods on an "it" that I "own." My companion animals aren't "pets," "its," or my property; they're "hes" and "shes," and I'm their guardian. They're a part of my family. I extend the same love and respect to all beings. Anything less would always fall short of being truly holistic.

Animal Foods - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Background Why "Convenience Foods" Were Created
The first commercial dog food was a biscuit product introduced in England about 1860, by James Spratt, an electrician from, believe it or not, Ohio! Spratt was in England selling lightning rods when he noticed what the English were feeding their companion animals - he thought he could do better. (I do find it ironic that this was the original intent behind processed foods.) His Dog Cakes were introduced to the US in the 1920's. The animal food industry exploded right along with the human food industry - animal foods gave companies the opportunity to create profit from what would otherwise be waste and castoffs. From Then to Now - Current Industry Information The animal food industry has become one of the largest in existence, bringing in over $22 billion each year, according to the Pet Food Industry Journal, July-August, 1998 Also according to the Journal, 35% of animal foods are produced by 6 companies: Pedigree/Mars; Friskies/Nestle; Raslton Purina; Heinz; Hills & Science Diet/Colgate; Spiller/Dalgety (UK). Just two companies, Mars and Nestle, actually account for 29% of the total.

AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) This huge industry is regulated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials - a trade association comprised of state government feed control representatives and federal officials as voting members, and feed industry representatives as non-voting members. This alliance meets annually to determine recommended feed terms (such as "meat by-products"), to set feed control laws, and to set minimal nutritional standards. So the animal food industry is virtually self-regulated.

Criticized for Unclear "Standards" and Lax Oversight
Many ingredients are not subject to FDA approval (synthetic and artificial flavorings)
Guidelines Are Incomplete - For instance, AAFCO specifies that foods must have a certain percentage of protein, but it doesn't specify that the protein needs to be in a digestible form!

James Morris and Quinton Rogers, two professors at the University of California at Davis - Veterinary School of Medicine, say that, "Claims of nutritional adequacy of pet foods based on the current AAFCO nutrient allowances ('profiles') do not give assurances of nutritional adequacy and will not until ingredients are analyzed and bioavailability values are incorporated." "Assessment of the Nutritional Adequacy of Pet Foods Through the Life Cycle." Journal of Nutrition, 124 (1994): 2520S-2533S.

So, What Can Be in These Processed Foods?
Each year in the US, 286 rendering plants quietly dispose of more than 12.5 million tons of dead animals, fat and meat wastes. (Gar Smith, editor of Earth Island Journal) Keith Wood, a researcher whose watered down accounts of one Southern California rendering plant were featured on 20/20 and in the San Fransisco Chronicle, saw mountains of dead dogs and cats, heads and hooves from cattle, sheep, pigs and horses, whole skunks, rats and raccoons - all waiting to be processed. In the 90 degree heat, the piles of dead animals seemed to have a life of their own as millions of maggots swarmed over the carcasses. Baltimore City Paper reporter Van Smith visited Valley Proteins rendering plant, and saw a similar scene. (He found that the "hoggers" (the large vats they use to grind and filter animal bodies) held an eclectic mix of body parts ranging from dead dogs, cats, to raccoons, possums, deer, foxes, and snakes, to a baby circus elephant and the remains of Bozeman, a Police Department quarter horse [who] "died in the line of duty".) Smith learned that, in an average month, Baltimore's pound handed over more than 1800 dead companion animals to Valley Proteins. In one year, the plant transformed 150 million pounds of decaying flesh and kitchen grease into 80 million pounds of commercial meat and bone meal, tallow and yellow grease. Thirty years ago, things weren't quite so bad - most of the renderer's wastes came from small markets and slaughterhouses. Today, thanks to fast-food restaurants, nearly half the raw material is kitchen grease and frying oil.

OK, so what we're talking about is:
4-D meats - animals who arrive at the slaughter house dead, dying, diseased, disabled - NOT healthy animals - not fit for human consumption
Cancerous parts of animals who are intended for human consumption
Rotting meats that sit in 50 gallon drums in your grocer's cooler waiting for the renderers' trucks to pick them up. Including packaging. Up to 2% of the total amount rendered may be plastic, styrofoam, and other packing materials.
Road kill
Euthanized cats and dogs - including their flea collars, ID tags and the chemicals that killed them

According to Ann Martin (in her book Foods Pets Die For), The US Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is aware of the use of rendered dogs and cats in animal foods, but has not acted to specifically prohibit it. They have, however, stated that the practice of using this "material" in animal food is not condoned. AAFCO does not require the animal food industry to label rendered remains of cats and dogs as the hidden ingredients in a commercial dog or cat food. What we need to realilze is that sodium pentobarbital can withstand rendering, and so it still exists in the food that we're feeding.

Basically, any part of any animal not fit for human consumption - we'll talk more about that later.

Sweeteners - Semi-moist dog foods can contain up to 25% sugar (in the form of corn syrup, sucrose, caramel, etc.) Foods can contain moldy grains,
Rancid animal fat - fast food industry cast offs
Blood soaked floor sweepings
Artificial Colors and Flavors
And of course,

BHA & BHT Butylated hydroxy sanisole, butylated hydroxy toluene have already been banned in England, Romania, Sweden, Japan and Austrialia. They have been implicated in liver and kidney problems, birth defects, slow growth rates, behavior problems, metabolic stress, increased cholesterol levels, allergic reactions, baldness and brain defects. They may also be carcinogens. In 1991, these two chemicals were removed from the FDA "Generally Recognized As Safe" list, but some food companies are still using them in their products. What's really upsetting is that they may be easily replaced by using Vitamins C and E as natural preservatives.
Ethoxyquin - Developed by Monsanto in the 1950's as a rubber hardener. It has effects similar to Agent Orange.
Propylene Glycol - a cousin to antifreeze. Causes irregularities in blood cells, diarrhea, obesity, skin problems, death Formalin - in a quote from Dr. Thomas A.Chew Newland, DVM "When the moist foods came out, we figured they must have a very strong preservative, because they needed no refrigeration. Many of them do have a very strong preservative- formalin. Formalin is such a good preservative, in fact, that undertakers use quite a lot of it." (FPDF) I grew up in a funeral home, so I'm well acquainted with formalin...

If you look at the list of ingredients on a bag of dog or cat food, you see a number terms that can be very misleading. So here's a little information on how to tead labels...

Many companies use the term "USDA Inspected" as if it meant "USDA Approved." All meats are inspected - not all are approved.

The word "With" has a big impact on what's in a bag of food: there can be as little as 3% of a given ingredient when the bag says "with." For instance: Bob's Dog Food With Lamb and Rice (3%) v Bob's Lamb and Rice Dog Food (95% Lamb & Rice)

"By-products" can be lungs, heads, spleens, kidneys, brains, livers, blood, bone, partially defatted fatty tissue, stomachs and intestines, feet, feathers, beaks, hide - it does not include meat. Is also said that by-products often include fecal matter, pus, hair, horns, hooves. Yes, animals do eat these by-products in the wild, however, they are eaten in proportional amounts, and do not form the bulk of the diet.

"Fillers" can be peanut hulls, recycled newspaper, sawdust, cardboard, floor sweepings

Cheese - may be nothing more than cheese rinds

Vegetable fiber - to describe corn husks and peanut shells

Poultry protein products - feathers

Processed animal protein - ground bones

The Animal Food Industry repeatedly seeks approval to use more "collective ingredient" terms - More terms like "by-products" and "fillers" will make it even more difficult for the average consumer to understand what they're actually feeding their companion animals.

Another little trick: Splitting ingredients - wheat middlings, rice hulls, etc. - will show up farther down the ingredient list, however totaled as "grains," would be the #1 ingredient

Animal Digest - a powder of liquid made by taking non-decomposed animal tissue (4-d meats, and so on) and breaking it down using chemical and or enzymatic hydrolysis.

To clarify the use of the term "meal" If the label lists Chicken/Beef/Lamb Meal - A better source of protein than chicken, beef or lamb, since ingredients are listed by volume and meal has had 40-80% of water removed - of course, by-product meal is a whole different story…

The term "human grade" has a story of its own. Technically, nothing that goes into animal food is "human grade," and any company who advertises their food as "human quality " is in violation of AAFCO guidelines and liable to be subjected to a "stop sale" order. The meats and grains they use in the natural foods are exactly the same as what's going into human foods, but if they're going into animal food, they legally can't be called "human grade."

If You'd Like to Make Your Own "Complete and Balanced" Animal Food To Meet AAFCO Standards
You can take some used crank case oil, old leather shoes, and wood shavings and come up with a perfectly product. (according to Dr. Richard Pitcairn in his book The Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats).

How Do These Foods Affect Our Companion Animals?
Dr. William Pollak, DVM The commercial food we are feeding is the disease we are treating---so treat on and on, curing one disease after another, again and again.

Dr. Lisa Newman, N.D, Ph.D., President of the International Pet Care Foundation, founder of Azmira foods and author of several books on natural care, says "A lack of moisture in the food caused by preservatives and poorly digested ingredients causes the food to back up in the bowels, these materials wind up lining the intestines, interfering with assimilation of nutrients, and providing the perfect environment for parasites.

In addition to:
Weakened Immunity
Increased Susceptibility to Parasites

We see:
Premature Aging Allergies & Skin Diseases
Alfred Plechner, DVM - (Pet Allergies: Remedies for an Epidemic), Says that nutritional deficiencies created by what he calls "flawed food" are the number one cause of the pattern of allergies we're seeing in our companion animals today, and that one out of two animals brought into veterinary clinics are suffering from food related allergies that may present as something else.

We also see Cancer (According to both Newman and Pitcairn)
Besides the lack of bioavailable nutrition in many comercially processed foods, there is also the complex issue of chemical additives. And there are a lot of them. As of 1989, there were 70,000 different chemicals in use. There are approximately 3000 new chemicals introduced each year. As of 1990, only 2000 have been tested for their ability to cause cancer. When our animals eat these toxins, much energy is needed to expel them from the system, which obviously makes this energy unavailable for other body functions. Many toxins can not be expelled, and accumulate in the tissue. Accumulated toxins may interact. So in addition to each individual chemical being a potential carcinogen, we have the possibility that even noncarcinogenic chemicals may interact to produce a new toxic substance.

I just have one last statistic on how much the foods we feed affect our companion animals: According to Plechner, clinical trials suggest that 74.7% of common diseases in dogs and 63% of common diseases in cats can be eliminated without medical intervention over a period of one year with proper diet modifications and an understanding of the healing process as exhibited through healing episodes.

Fortunately, we do have other options It's very easy to home prepare your companion animal's foods. There are recipes in the books we have listed in your resources. ( Richard Pitcairn, Celeste Yarnall, Donald Strombeck DVM, Wendy Volhard, Kymythy Schultz, Juliette de Bairacle Levy, Anitra Frazier, Gloria Dodd, DVM, Pat McKay)

I've given you a simple recipe in your notes, as well: 60% lightly steamed, shredded or ground meat, preferably beef, lamb, venison, rabbit, ostrich or turkey. (60 - 75% protein for cats.) Newman considers pork, fish and chicken to be very weak meats for dogs, but recommends chicken for cats. The remaining portion of a home prepared meal should consist of 30% cooked whole grains and 10% raw vegetable or fruit. The cooked grains she suggests are rolled oats or oatmeal, barley, millet and spelt, a variety of grained wheat. Dr. Newman says brown rice should not be frequently used, and white rice should be avoided, as both are difficult for dogs to digest. "Recent university studies have shown rice may be a major contributing factor of diabetes in dogs," she said.

The home prepared meal recommended by Dr. Newman is balanced with a 10% portion of grated carrots, beets or chopped apples. She said the meal should be served warm, 1 ¼ cups per 20 pounds of the animal's weight, and fed twice daily.

There are products like Sojourners Farm, etc (a grain and supplement mix to which you add your own meat - so you can really control the quality: organic, pasture fed, etc.)

Of course you've heard of BARF (the Bones And Raw Food Diet or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food Diet), which is one of the most popular of the many raw food diets being fed today. Developed by Dr. Ian Billingsworth, B.V.Sc. [Hons], B.Sc. Agr., Dip.Ed.. Comprised of 60%- 80% raw meaty bones, a 20% - 40% mix of raw veggies and raw meat supplemented with: Eggs, kelp, yogurt, flax seed oil, Vitamins C & B

Closest to what nature originally intended - A reconstruction of the prey animal
Excellent for dental hygiene
Poop disappears
Many breeders have raised multiple healthy generations on BARF

Possible concerns:
Salmonella & E. coli - many believe they are not an issue due to length of digestive tracts and the pH of our animals' digestive systems. If you're still concerned, according to Pat McKay (Reigning Cats and Dogs) you can soak meat in one tablespoon of three percent food grade hydrogen peroxide or four drops of grapefruit seed extract per six ounces of water.

Obstructions & perforations - not generally a problem because bones are not cooked (cooked bones are much more brittle) and because the types of bones most often fed are small - such as in chicken backs and necks, and turkey necks. Many BARF experts warn against feeding "weight bearing bones" unless they are ground. However:

Digestive problems (animals may have lost capacity to digest raw foods) - Lisa Newman's article "Romancing the Bone" says that in the 1980s, after six years of clinical documentation on the overall wellness of raw meat eaters, she recognized a pattern of disease. She concludes that the raw meat diet is too hard to digest for most dogs.

My Own Experience
It was a lot of work! I fed 20 dogs and 15 cats 160 lbs chicken backs + other raw meats and veggies each week. The dogs and cats thrived, had wonderful teeth. I didn't have to scoop poop - then after a year of so, there were the nasty belches, and entire chicken backs thrown up hours after being eaten. I realized I had some digestive issues to deal with. I switched back to natural kibble in the process of making the 3 trips it took to get my gang from VA to Ohio.

Once I was ready to go back to raw, I did more research and wound up coming to the conclusion that a natural kibble supplemented with the things I'll be talking about a little later is actually what's best for my guys.

Natural Kibbles - Why They're Different
Two to three times the price of lesser quality foods
More easily digestible (bio-available)
Feed less - of course = less out
Lower vet bills
Less chronic disease
Stronger immunity
Fewer parasites
Longer lives
Better quality of life

Things To Look For - "Many Have Jumped on the Holistic Bandwagon"
Superior sources of protein
At least one whole meat source as one of the first two ingredients
No generic terms like "meats," or "mammal tissue"
Whole, unprocessed grains, vegetables and other foods
No chemical preservatives
No beet pulp, sucrose, molasses, cane syrup, fruit solids or other sweeteners

See the "Whole Dog Journal" - Annual Reviews of the Best Foods.

Carvel Tiekert, DVM, past chair of the American Holistic Veterinary Association Rates Diets On a Scale of 1 - 10 (1 the lowest)
1. A home made diet made incorrectly (generally all meat/table scraps)
2. Soft-moist diets
3 - 4. Generic dry foods
5. Standard commercial diets
6 - 8. Top-shelf lines (Science Diet, Eukanuba, Iams, etc.)
9. Natural foods (Azmira, Innova, California Natural, Solid Gold, Wysong)
10. Correctly prepared home made diet - making no distinction between raw and cooked

No matter what you're feeding, our animals still need supplementation, since there has been an 80% loss of nutritional value in foods over past 50 years. The new paradigm is that animals cannot get optimum nutrition from their food alone. Enzymes - Occasional use - Missing from cooked or processed
Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother - Dianne Stein in The Natural Remedy Book for Dogs and Cats: high potassium electrolyte balancer, remineralizes the body and normalizes the blood's acid alkaline balance, anti bacterial and anti-fungal and boosts immune system. Breaks down calcium deposits, so it's good for hip dysplasia. Balances digestive enzymes. 1 tsp/pint of water.
Vitamin C - immune support, detoxifier, very good for treating hip dysplasia- use it in the form Ester C
Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol = natural - dl-alpha tocopherol = synthetic) especially good for healing the circulatory system
Kelp - natural iodine and mineral supplement
Blue green algae - natural, whole food
EFAs (Omega 3, 6 and 9 & Fish Oils) 1 tsp to 1 Tbls ground flax seeds daily depending on size of animal
Raw Veggies - fresh foods provide enzymes - feed either raw ground or lightly steamed
Raw Meats
Yogurt - probiotics, live culture, full fat, plain also acidophilous
Garlic - antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic (1/4 clove per 30 lbs once daily)
Oatmeal - cleansing (along with barley and sorghum, one of the three best grains to feed)
Pumpkin - great for hairballs, diarrhea, anal sacs, use plain pumpkin, not canned pumpkin pie filling
Milk Thistle - liver cleanser
Dandelion - general tonic / kidneys & bladder
Pitcairn's Healthy Powder (Nutritional yeast, kelp, bone meal, Lecithin, Vitamin C)
Oil Mix
Kibble Boosters - formulated to use with kibbles - not the same thing as feeding part kibble and part home prepared, which, according to Volhard and Brown, is not recommended (too hard to balance)

For Dental Care - I also supplement with weekly RMBs Information about bones and chews- what's safe and what isn't - is available in the WDJ August 2003 edition

The Benefits of Fasting/Detox
A n
ormal, natural phenomenon, often self imposed. Pitcairn "one of the oldest and most natural methods of healing." Excellent for both sick and healthy animals
Triggers the body's eliminatory systems (kidneys, liver, lungs, skin, lymph system) to deal with toxins rather than regular digestion/elimination

Simple Weekly Fasting Protocol
24 hour fast, plenty of fluids, moderate exercise, lots of love, towel rub down - followed by light meal of oatmeal. Information on longer fasts available in Pitcairn.

Bowls, Buckets, Etc.
Porcelain, ceramic or stainless only
Ease of cleaning (no scratches to collect dirt & germs)
It's thought that plastics release gasses/toxins (You've probably seen many dogs with loss of pigment in their noses which is often attributed to plastic feeding dishes.)
Use hoses approved for drinking water only! - Not just regular garden Hose!

Water - What to Do
Try point of use systems that filter chlorine, giardia, lead and Volatile Organic Chemicals (benzene, trihalomethanes, lindane) - you get what you pay for! (see

Vaccinations - A Shot in the Dark
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right. Thomas Paine (Introduction to Common Sense 1776)

When I was fifteen years old, I lost my Appaloosa gelding, Brent Bar, to cirrhosis of the liver. My vet gave me three possible causes: heredity, feeding moldy hay or grain, or overvaccination. The year? 1975. Since then I've been suspicious about vaccinations, but it took a long time for me to actually have the courage to question any vet about the annual revaccination ritual. I thought I was being a good little "owner" (see, I was totally unenlightened then) by hauling my kids off for their annual injections.

In Virginia, I'd had long term relationships with several vets, so when I finally decided about six years ago that my critters weren't going to get any more vaccinations, they knew where I was coming from. Even if they didn't agree, they knew that I wasn't just being cheap or irresponsible, and that my decision came from much research and a heart felt belief that I was doing what was best for my kids. When I was looking for a new vet here in Ohio, I expected that it would be easy to find someone who was up to date on the vaccination information I was sure everyone was familiar with by then. But, for almost two years, the very best relationship I'd found was with someone who was at best willing to look the other way. No one seemed to have heard about (or listened to) all the new vaccination protocols. I wasn't prepared for that.

I really wasn't prepared for the times when I had to take a sick dog to a vet, and when I got to the part when I explained that I don't vaccinate, the vet would insist that the dog be vaccinated against parvo immediately - EVEN BEFORE ANY DIAGNOSIS HAD BEEN MADE. Thankfully I had enough knowledge to "just say no." Not only has the problem never turned out to be parvo (causes have ranged from a perforated intestine to Giardia to just an upset tummy), but each and every vet who has made this suggestion has ignored the warning coming directly from the drug manufacturers - and common sense! - that ONLY HEALTHY ANIMALS SHOULD BE VACCINATED. How could you justify adding disease pathogens to a system already in a weakened state, particularly the pathogen for the disease the dog may already be fighting? In addition, it is common practice to vaccinate animals for multiple diseases on the day of a surgery. Think about it! How could you, in good conscience, suppress the immune system of a cat or dog whose body will be undergoing such a tremendous amount of stress and not realize that this could cause serious complications?

Vaccines are not the harmless little miracles that we've been conditioned to believe.

The Allopathic Position
A Practice Lacking Scientific Validity or Verification - In 1992, the following quote, from Ron Schultz, Ph.D., and Tom Phillips, DVM, appeared in Kirk's Current Veterinary Therapy XI, Vol. 11, page 205: (As you probably know, this is a purely conventional textbook, and Drs. Schultz and Phillips are respected veterinary immunologists in the academic community): A practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual revaccinations. Almost without exception there is no immunologic requirement for annual revaccination. Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal...Only the immune response to toxins requires boosters and no toxin vaccines are currently used for dogs and cats. Furthermore, revaccination with most viral vaccines fails to stimulate an secondary response as a result of interference by existing antibody.

On the American Animal Hospital Association site: Not many things are "sure" in medicine. However, there is strong and growing consensus among immunology and infectious diseases experts that annual vaccination is neither necessary or advisable.

[Also on the AAHA site:] Recently, there has been a growing degree of evidence indicating protection from vaccination is longer lasting than previously believed. In addition, there is increased awareness and concern that vaccination is not as harmless a procedure as once thought. This awareness and concern have led to a growing number of authorities (such as infectious disease experts, immunologists, and researchers) as well as practitioners who recommend reduced frequency of vaccinations while at the same time tailoring vaccine recommendations to specific risk situations. The tradition of annual boosters was based on manufacturers' recommendations and labeling. To date, few studies have been done to prove how long vaccines are effective. In addition, veterinarians found vaccination to be a safe procedure that was generally free of side effects and risk. In the short term.

[Informed Consent] The AVMA's position is that the companion animal guardian should be given the opportunity for informed consent relative to vaccination options, however they have not established a standard vaccination protocol.

[Do Not Rely on Vaccine Income] The AVMA's also states that "Veterinarians must promote the value of the exam and move away from their dependence on vaccine income." The AVMA recognized that current labels frequently contain revaccination interval recommendations based on historical precedence and regulation rather than scientific data.

[Often Fatal Side Effects] The July 2003 Consumer Reports cover story "Pets & Vets" recommends talking to your vet about booster shots every three years instead of annually, citing the 2 year long AVMA study which, in 2001, concluded that the annual shots advice is not based on scientific data, and some vaccines are effective for longer than a year. That's important, because, according to Consumer Reports, other research has associated annual shots with harmful and often fatal side affects, such as autoimmune disease and sarcomas. Similar articles have been printed in Reader's Digest, Dog Fancy, and other periodicals. The Florida League for Humane Progress in Saint Petersburg, Florida, quotes the Delson Chemican Company as stating that compulsory inoculation of your dog is unconstitutional, not to mention unnecessarily troublesome and expensive. The League has concluded that inoculations for canine diseases can be extremely dangerous and are at best unreliable. Vaccinated dogs frequently develop paralysis, blindness and convulsions; some even die.

[Changing Protocols] The vast majority, if not all, of the 27 North American veterinary schools are currently recommending reduced frequency of vaccination as well as using the core/noncore and risk assessment concepts in recommending specific vaccines.

* Vaccinations Should be Tailored to the Individual
* Recommended Use of Core Vaccines Only
* There is Strong Evidence of Immunity Lasting at Least 3 Years
* Further Research is Necessary
* And, At the Very Least, Only Healthy Animals Should be Vaccinated

The Holistic Position
[Almost Never a Need for Booster Immunizations] Dr. Don Hamilton states in his article "Vaccination for Cats: Helpful or Harmful?": ..there is almost never a need for booster immunization. Once immunized, an animal, as with humans, is protected for life. Further vaccinations do not improve the immunity. Dr Jean Dodds (Dr Dodds and Dr Hamilton, as you probably know, are both speaking here this weekend) says, in her New Principles of Immunology: "Dogs and cats immune systems mature fully at 6 months. If a modified live virus vaccine is given after 6 months of age, it produces immunity, which is good for the life of the pet. If another MLV vaccine is given a year later, the antibodies from the first vaccine neutralize the antigens of the second vaccine and there is little or no effect. The titer is not "boosted" nor are more memory cells induced. Again, the annual protocol was established by the manufacturers, not by the veterinariary community.

[Risks Outweigh Benefits] According to Wendy Volhard and Kerry Brown, D.V.M., in Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog, "Immunologists are finding a direct correlation between the increase in autoimmune and chronic disease states and the overuse of vaccines. Breeders have had entire litters wiped out after using parvo vaccines...Some European veterinarians now believe that the benefits of many vaccines are outweighed by the risks, and that the dog is better either not being vaccinated or being vaccinated only for distemper and parvo. Hamilton - Talking about damage from vaccines: Although this is the most controversial aspect of vaccination, I see this so commonly that I personally have no doubts that vaccines are extremely dangerous. Most of my homeopathic colleagues are in agreement. We believe vaccination underlies a huge percentage of illness that we see today, and especially the rash of autoimmune diseases; these have increased dramatically since my graduation from veterinary school in 1979.

[The Creation of Chronic Disease States (Vaccinosis)] Richard Pitcairn, D.V.M., says: "The effect of vaccination, besides the physical effects of stimulating an antibody response, is to establish a chronic disease... resulting in mental, emotional, and physical changes that can, in some cases, be a permanent condition." (From his address to the American Holisitic Veterinary Medical Association, September, 1993 available in written or audio format from the AHVMA.)

It was interesting to find out that the term vaccinosis has been with us since the turn of the last century! It was coined by a 19th centuary physician, Dr. Compton Burnett, who was already noticing long term damage which he attributed to the use of vaccines. Catherine O'Driscoll, in her book, What Veterinarians Don't Tell You About Vaccines, says: A number of people have commented that they would rather risk the side effects of vaccination than the terrible diseases we vaccinate against. It is therefore one of life's cruelest jokes that the vaccine itself should cause the disease, apparently in an incurable form.

[Immunosupression] W. Jean Dodds, D.V.M., asks: Can antigenic overload from single or combination vaccines overwhelm the host's immune system? If so, can immunosupression result?" Dr Schultz says: "Immune mediated disease has developed in human beings following vaccination. In many cases it is impossible to show a direct connection between the damage and a vaccine, since it is the accumulation of many antigens over many years that results in clinically evident disease." More information like this is found in the Merck Veterinary Manual - as well as on the packaging of the drugs themselves.

[The Creation of New Diseases] Dr. Christina Chambreau, D.V.M: "What are we doing to the whole animal, the whole immune system of our animals? Why are dogs and cats becoming more and more unhealthy, living shorter life spans, and having smaller litters? New diseases have appeared even since we started vaccinating so heavily." Many researchers believe that the sudden and wide spread arrival of Parvo in 1979 was due a distemper vaccine that was cultivated in cats whose kidneys were infected with feline enteritis. According to O'Driscoll: this makes parvoviris is a cross-species, vaccine-induced disease.

[Interactions] It's commonly accepted that dogs and cats taking immune suppressant drugs should not be vaccinated. Dog and cat foods contain animals who were full of steroids at the time they were slaughtered. Of course, some steroids degrade in the cooking process. Others become more toxic. I've already talked about toxins accumulating in an animal's system. So basically, we're vaccinating dogs and cats who are full of steroids.

[Unpredictable Reactions] Anaphylactic shock, behavior changes, heart failure, paralysis, allergies, and death are some of the reactions that are seen. Why do different individuals experience such a wide variety of reactions? Dr. Christopher Day, author of Homeopathic Treatment of Small Animals: Principles & Practice, believes that there are two variables at work, first is the different components of the vaccine, methods of manufacture, etc. The second is from a holistic viewpoint, where every organism has a predisposition or programmed response to disease. Put simply, one being might have a tendency to react to the same allergin with a skin irritation, another might develop a respiratory problem, while another might not react at all.

[A History of Fraud and Deception] Bob Rogers, DVM (Critter Fixer Pet Hospital, Louetta Spring, Texas) wrote a very interesting letter to the Office of the Attorney General last year. Rogers begins his letter by asserting that the present practice of marketing vaccinations for companion animals constitutes fraud by misrepresentation, fraud by silence, theft by deception, and undue influence by all Veterinarians engaged in companion animal practice in his state.

[Credit Where It's Not Due] There is also a great deal of evidence that epidemics die out on their own, and that vaccination is generally introduced during the decline of the virus and it actually reintroduces the disease into the population. According to Dr. Hamilton: Vaccination often receives undue credit for disease prevention... From human studies, we know most of the reduction of disease actually results from good food and good hygiene. Polio is an excellent case in point. In the years preceding the introduction of the vaccine, the disease was already on the decline, down 47% in the US. When mass inoculations began in 1950's, the incidences increased dramatically. The NIH called the vaccine "worthless as a preventative and dangerous to take." (Goldstein) Dr. Jonas Salk himself testified before Congress in 1976 that the live virus vaccine, was the principle, if not the sole, cause of all reported cases of polio since 1961.

Puppy and Kitten Vaccination Protocol - Jean Dodds says "Puppies and kittens receive antibodies through their mothers milk. This natural protection can last 8-14 weeks. * Puppies & kittens should NOT be vaccinated at LESS than 8 weeks. Maternal immunity will neutralize the vaccine and little protection (0-38%) will be produced. * Vaccination at 6 weeks will delay the timing of the first highly effective vaccine. * Vaccinations given 2 weeks apart suppress rather than stimulate the immune system. * Dr. Dodd Recommends: A series of vaccinations is given starting at 8 weeks and given 3-4 weeks apart up to 16 weeks of age. Another vaccination given sometime after 6 months of age (usually at 1 year 4 mo) will provide lifetime immunity."

Schultz says that the basic puppy or kitten series is probably adequate to immunize 95% of all cats and dogs. This is a common viewpoint.

Still not sure? Consider Titer Testing.
The term titer refers to the strength or concentration of a substance in a solution. Titers establish "immunologic memory." Dodds says good immunity to Parvo and to Distemper are "proper markers for competence of the dog's immune system." You don't need to titer test for each dis-ease. Make sure that the lab is doing a titer test for vaccine (immunity) titers and not disease titers! Disease titers are much higher than normal immunity titers, so testing for disease will produce a false negative. Titers do not distinguish between immunity created by vaccination and that created by natural exposure.

A new, less expensive test became available in the spring of 2002. Called TiterChek, this15-minute test can help determine if a dog is protected. Vets charge about $30 (compared with $65 - $100 for the old titer tests). For more information on titer testing in general, you can visit:

Do Vaccine Practices Remain Largely Unchanged Despite This Evidence?
A survey by the American Animal Hospital Association shows that less than 7% of veterinarians have updated their vaccination recommendations, in spite of the fact that these new recommendations have been published twice in every major Veterinary Medical Journal since 1995.

Please note that we don't advocate just not vaccinating. That definitely would not be in keeping with a holistic approach to health! I do encourage you to incorporate all aspects of the holistic approach to your animal's health, including limiting the number and types of vaccines that your companion receives.

What Else
No Chemicals On the Animal
Boost Natural Immunity - No Chemical Heartworm Prevention, Healthy Diet
Testing every 6 months
Safe, Effective, Natural Treatment for Heartworm Positive Dogs
No Chemical Flea Treatments "Integrated Management" - Gregory Tilford, (Mary Wolf Tilford,) Whole Dog Journal, June 2003, Volume 6, Number 6
Diatomaceous Earth directly on the animal - some advocate feeding DE (sold in the lawn and garden section - not what's used for pools), natural shampoo baths, flea combs, herbal/essential oil sprays, Flea diet , FleaBusters

In The Home
Vinegar - Heinz company spokesperson Michael Mullen references numerous studies to show that a straight 5 percent solution of vinegar-such as you can buy in the supermarket-kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold, and 80 percent of germs (viruses). The CBS news show 48 Hours had a segment with Heloise reporting on tests from The Good Housekeeping Institute that proved this. Since vinegar isn't registered with the EPA as a pesticide, etc., Heinz can't make any claims on their packaging.

Also, don't be too good of a housekeeper! There is a lot of evidence that very clean environments may actually work to lower immunity. Allowing the body to establish its own immunity through natural exosure seems to give both humans and animals better long term health. I would imagine less exposure to cleansers and antibacterial anything also gives a boost to the immune system. I would be willing to bet that this will be the number one tip that you all take away from today's presentations...

DE & other natural insect control - recipes on the snips site
Plant spray - 1 tsp alcohol 1 drop liquid soap 1 pint water
"Stinky Spray" 1 quart hydrogen peroxide 1/4 cup baking soda 1 teaspoon liquid soap Mix and use immediately - do not store as it may explode!

Around The Yard/Garden
Nematodes, DE, IGR
Dental Care ( good oral hygiene can increase your animal's life span by 20%
Weight Control - keeping animals slightly underweight can increase their life span by up to 20% Eliminate Carpets
No Treated Lumber
Natural Kitty Litter
Vehicle Restraints (General Cage, Rough Rider) Collars (quick release)

Proper Exercise
Energy Work
Daily Hands On

Healthy Emotional Environment

In Europe, permanent companion animal identification is mandatory. Microchips are currently rapidly surpassing tattoos. The latest figures from the English National Dog Warden Association show that 51% of lost dogs are being returned to their human companions. We in the US have a 14% national return to guardian rate. More animals die as a result from being lost than from all diseases combined.

Use Holistic Treatments for
1. For any non-life threatening symptom such as mild diarrhea or vomiting when the animal is otherwise healthy (present for up to 24 hours)
2. Rashes and other skin irritations (warts, hot spots, abrasions, superficial wounds, etc.)
3. Discharges (watery eyes, excess ear wax)
4. Mild respiratory irritations (kennel cough, reverse sneezing, etc.)
5. Muscle stiffness or soreness, arthritis, lameness from soft tissue injury
6. Acute flare ups of chronic symptoms, especially during detox
7. When known allergens are present
8. An increasingly severe curative response (healing crisis) has been going on for 48+ hours, with the animal showing overall improvement
9. Pain control and healing following surgery, post partum
10. Mild vaccine related issues (pre- and post-vaccination)
11. Dental prophylaxis
12. Emotional or behavioral issues, stress
13. Travel sickness

When Allopathic Treatments Are Appropriate
1. Any life threatening acute symptom, especially severe diarrhea, bowel impaction, bloat or respiratory difficulties resulting in hyper panting, excessive heart rate present for two to four hours, loss of consciousness, excessive dehydration, uncontrollable shaking
2. High fever present for more than 24 hours
3. Chronic symptom aggravation for more than 24 hours which results in loss of mobility, uncontrollable digestive upsets, urinary dysfunction, or other severe symptoms
4. Unmanageable infectious states, even if mild, lasting for four to six weeks
5. Also when surgery is indicated (broken bones, torn cruciate ligament, torsion, etc.)
6. Trauma
7. Any time you're in doubt

The Good News
Dr. Newman says detox and natural diet will produce:
A complete reversal of dis-ease symptoms in 75% of animals
15% will need additional natural support
8% will need short term chemical support
Only 2% will always have problems


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